New $2.2M public housing complex in YK to be heated with biomass

Paulie Chinna, NWT's housing minister, cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the eight-unit public apartment complex in Yellowknife's Sissons Court.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation announced the opening of an eight-unit apartment complex in Yellowknife’s Sissons Court at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday.

The $2.2 million building will be the first public housing in Yellowknife to use a biomass district heating system, allowing it to stay warm without burning oil.

Biomass heating is used in public housing units elsewhere in the territory, including systems in Dettah and Ndilǫ.

“This eight-plex marks the beginning of a more sustainable future with biomass energy creating affordable, sustainable, healthy homes for our residents,” said Paulie Chinna, minister responsible for the NWT housing corporation.



“These eight units will keep northern residents housed in healthy and safe conditions.”

Construction on the project, which was a joint effort between the territory’s housing corporation and the City of Yellowknife’s housing authority, finished this week.

People will begin moving into the units as early as Monday of next week. The first five units will be filled by Thursday.

The eight bachelor units are split between two floors. The four units on the ground floor are wheelchair accessible and some of the light switches are lowered.



The term ‘biomass’ refers to fuel derived from plant or animal material. A common form of biomass used for heating homes is wood pellets or chips, which are fed into a boiler and burned. Burning biomass instead of oil is generally cheaper and releases less emissions as a by-product.

Another biomass heating system in Yellowknife, the wood pellet boiler at J & R Mechanical, is projected to reduce oil use at the warehouse by 90 percent.

Aurora College received a grant in February to study the use of cardboard waste pellets as a heat source in the Beaufort Delta.